In the wake of a large squatter fire in 1953 that left 58,000 homeless, Hong Kong's first public housing estate was born. Designed using a functionalistic approach, the buildings had a simple structure with no decoration to maximize the utilization of space.
Mei Ho House is the only original structure from the 29-block housing estate that remains today. Revitalized, part of it has become a youth hostel, while 2 floors in one wing have become the Heritage of Mei Ho House museum, which showcases the estate's history from the 1950s to the 70s.
The upstairs exhibition re-creates the various living spaces over different periods. Being resettlement housing for the homeless, one unit could have been shared by several families. Space was not a luxury here.
Next door is the youth hostel, which is a bit of a walk from the MTR station, but is within a very local area with plenty of shops and restaurants to explore authentic local life.
The redeveloped towers are far taller, and have welcomed its new residents already.
Behind Mei Ho House is a long concrete staircase up Garden Hill, which offers a good panoramic view of Kowloon. It was once an off-the-beaten track vantage point but has become immensely popular in recent years. Signs now make this once elusive spot easily accessible.
The Jockey Club Creative Arts Centre (JCCAC) is a renovated factory building in Shek Kip Mei that has become home to over 150 local artists, art groups and creative professionals. JCCAC provides studio, gallery and work space for Hong Kong artists to develop, practice and showcase their work. The factory building was built in 1977 but fell into disuse as light industries left the city. In 2008, it reopened with a new purpose to serve the artistic community.
Nam Cheong 2020 is the city's first prefabricated home project. Made up of container-like blocks that offer 89 units over 4 stories, the project opened in the summer of 2020 as transition homes for people awaiting public housing.